In relatively young and novel industries like insect production, knowledge and know-how are crucial to success. As an insect producer you are a pioneer, frequently using experimentation to find the best possible methods for your chosen insect species. Making, and learning from, potentially costly mistakes is the reality of the farming process. Multiple variables can be used to define farming and business success. However, Cogastro highlights the main aspects that are critical in insect farming: planning, documenting, scheduling, and controlling the quality of your process.
Numerous things will influence your insect farm output, for example, changes within the environment, feed formulation, physical handling of operations. A lot of variables that affect production can, and should, be controlled to measure the outcome of existing breeding and rearing programs, to allow for workflow optimization.
It is likely that you will not change your workflow every day. To enable the accuracy of insights, insect production companies must run variations of the process changes for at least a couple of cycles to gather enough data and identify the impact of any changes. By defining an operation plan in a structured, data-driven way, you will be able to check any assumptions you made, implement modifications, and rerun the updated process. By repeating and re-evaluating your programs, you can compare outcomes and make informed decisions about how to best optimize your insect production. As this is a new field, you may also want to try and measure the impact of new techniques from time to time, as they become available. Before implementing any operational change, a well-defined plan is needed.
To create, evolve and control consistent processes in your farm, requires keeping detailed, up-to-date, process documentation. Not only does documentation enable you to optimize your processes effectively, but it also means you can transfer know-how more quickly. For example, it can provide continuity when a key employee leaves or goes on vacation, or to train new staff and continue farming as usual. Documenting your farm’s workflows in a pre-agreed and standardized way ensures expertise stays in the company. Also, do not forget that recording past failures is also useful — recording things that did not work so well ensures you do not make the same mistakes twice. Knowledge transfer and alignment within an organization is crucial to replicate and ensure continued success, and to ensure good standard documentation is essential.
When your operation manager has a well-defined and documented process, the last and the most challenging part is implementation. However, the challenge is to remain agile when more than one person is involved in the process. Whiteboarding ideas in meetings always help, but to ensure alignment and precise operations, agreed-on actions, schedule, and process changes should be saved and shared in an easily accessible way. Scheduling helps your staff remember and perform their adjusted daily tasks with a minimum of effort.
At Cogastro, we know how hard it is to measure, improve and replicate your insect farming workflows. To better empower insect facilities, we have developed a new feature that brings value to your process documentation and standardization routines. Cogastro’s new quality control module can enable insect production companies to connect their commercial production and quality control information and to make sure that established processes work as expected. The quality control module includes feedstock, frass, and insect parameters. Additionally, as the software is accessible on mobile devices, it will enable the quality control manager to log and forward the key control points information instantly to related teams enabling you to save both time and effort in making sure everything in the facility runs smoothly.